Homeless and vulnerable people set to benefit from new service across Dudley (UK)

A hospice in the Black Country has been handed funding to rollout a project to “make a real difference” to homeless people and other vulnerable people.

The Mary Stevens Hospice, based in Stourbridge, will set up the project across the Dudley borough with support services and other organisations.

The service aims to identify and support people who require palliative and end of life care, increase access to care, facilitate advance care planning opportunities and bereavement support, whilst providing a key education programme for staff who work with people experiencing homelessness.

Direct care, social support and signposting will be provided through community drop-in sessions in collaboration with the pathway team.

The new service forms part of a wider pathway being developed in the borough led by Dr Lloyd Baron and in partnership with Dudley Integrated Health Care.

Dr Baron, clinical lead for the Homeless Health Pathway, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be collaborating on this project with The Mary Stevens Hospice on behalf of DIHC. End of life care, support and education is such an important part of the journey for patients and for staff delivering that care. I am confident that we can make a positive difference across Dudley.”

The pilot service has been developed by Claire Towns and Gemma Allen, the palliative care inclusion and community partnerships lead.

Ms Towns, CEO and matron at The Mary Stevens Hospice, said: “As a hospice service we want to reach out, listen and work with communities who we know do not access equitable care. This forms part of our strategic aim including working with partners, to better support people in Dudley who have palliative and end of life care needs.”

Gemma Allen said: “People experiencing homelessness die at a much younger age than the general population and often experience inequalities accessing palliative and end of life care. We are extremely pleased to receive funding for The Mary Stevens Hospice to launch this new service.”

Alex Winstanley, trust and legacy fundraiser at The Mary Stevens Hospice, said: This project is very close to our hearts and will make a real difference to some of the most vulnerable members of our society. It is thanks to the incredible belief in our work shown by our funders that we can bring this project to life and continue working towards ensuring palliative and end of life care is accessible, inclusive, and available to all.”

The hospice said it is grateful to the following trusts for their financial support: The Orange Tree Foundation, The Birmingham District Nurse Trust, The Michael Marsh Trust, The John Porter Community Fund, The Edward Cadbury Trust and Inlight Trust.

Credit: Thomas Parkes, Express & Star News